Wondering how far to go with regards to having seperate cooking equipment etc?

I was diagnosed with coeliac a few weeks ago and have started out on my new gluten free diet, all going ok so far with meals. I have bought myself a new chopping board for making sandwiches and cutting bread and I am using a seperate spread. Do I need to use a seperate colander for draining pasta? I do plan to make the whole family eat gluten free pasta once all the gluten pasta has been eaten up but for now do i drain my pasta seperately? And can i use a spoon i've stirred their pasta with to stir mine? Being very new to this I'm struggling to get my head around the aspect of cross-contamination and how careful you need to be. My gluten symptoms are not severe more just niggling tummy pains and tiredness so I'm worried it won't be obvious to me when I have been 'glutened'. Any advice gratefully recieved!

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  • Hi Little Miss C,

    I would recommend sharing as little complicated gadgets as possible. If they are hard to clean then you are unlikely to get all the gluten off, so yes, sieves and colanders are better separate. Definitely have a different spoon to stir yours and theirs. Make sure that if you are sharing spreads (and jams, chutneys, etc) that nobody double-dips their knife - better to have different spreads and write GF on yours! I'm lucky enough to have two sides in my kitchen - my lad and my lodger keep their gluten on 'the Dark Side' and the rest of the kitchen in GF. And don't use the toaster!

  • Ditto Sassyl's. I'd also advise on different coloured utensils, bowls, and tea towels and a separate toaster and butter for you. That way if people skimp on cleaning or forget when cooking the colours will help prompt them to remember that yours is GF etc.

    You need to bear in mind it just takes 1 breadcrumb or similar for your immune system to attack your villi and other areas. Even if you don't have obvious symptoms (which we don't) the damage can be done internally if you don't separate things.

  • I have lots of plastic chopping boards - & one red one the red one means danger gluten . All go in the dishwasher .

    I bought loads of extra knifes & spoons from ikea ... Because we often don't remember which knife has been used with which spread , so there is always a stack of cutlery in the dishwasher . When cooking pasta I have stirring spoon one each side of the cooker for different saucepans .

  • Hi littlemissc,

    I would echo what Fiona said about the toaster. My dietician gave me a choice - to clean my existing toaster within an inch of its life (not possible because of all the nooks and crannies) or buy a new one.

    Guess what? I have a great new toaster now! And yes I changed my colander, my sieves, my wooden spoons and so on. Just part of the process I'm afraid.

    I believe you can use toaster bags, however this option may be better used when on holidays or staying with relatives.

    I would also be careful if you have pets. Most petfoods contain "cereals." While I have never established which cereals the various pet food companies use; personally I am very careful to make sure I have washed my hands after feeding the cat, due to the risk of cross contamination.

    Your symptoms when glutened sound like they are on a similar level to mine. Trust me you will notice the difference being gluten-free after a while. For a start it is really nice to get rid of the niggling stomach pains and you become more aware of when they are there again. I have found that my energy levels are starting to improve (I am only a few months gluten-free myself - was officially diagnosed in November).

    Also be very very careful when eating out in public and in the homes of family and friends. Ask and ask again of restaurant staff if they can provide gluten-free food before ordering your meal (preferably also check this before you book a table!). Unfortunately it is very necessary to do this as you are trusting them with your health. It can be embarrassing making such a fuss but it goes with the territory. The emotional aspect is something they don't really talk about at the point of diagnosis. It's there though!

    As for family and friends it is usually slightly easier with them. You still have to be careful though. When visiting my parents for tea (who have been great adapting to my GF diet) there have still been occasions when I have been unable to eat certain foods they have offered. One example was not being able to have any butter on a jacket potato because I could see the pot had been opened for a while and I couldn't be sure it hadn't been double dipped buy them when making sandwiches.

    Do consider carrying food around with you when in public just in case you can't find anything suitable to eat at mealtimes. However it does mean a heavier handbag at times!

    Good luck on your new lifestyle.

  • Hi Little Miss C

    I asked a similar question about a year ago if you search under the tags section for kitchen hygiene you'll be able to bring it up. I think we are all different in how we do this and really it's up to you how you interpret the situation with your kitchen. The most helpful thing for me intitially was to sort out the food cupboard into what I could and couldn't have and gradually over time replace the things I couldn't have with GF alternatives which I could eat and so could everyone else then there is no confusion. The others in my family still have their own cereals, bread, biscuits and cakes. I have my stuff in a separate small cupboard. You'll probably find as well that when you see a dietitian they will discuss some of this with you and come up with suggestions. It does get easier over time but can still be confusing when you are trying to do GF and non GF food at the same time. I generally do my things first ie sandwich then put my butter container away before I get confused and contaminate with the other breadcrumbs.

  • Thank you everyone for your answers, it helps a lot. Great excuse to go to the shops and get some nice new kitchen stuff!

  • When diagnosed for the second time we changed not only the utensils but the house as well making a fresh start, this is not recommended due to cost.

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